Tips, Experiences and Inspiration for Those who are Caring for the Seriously Ill. 

Megan McAuliffe

When you’re a caregiver, who do you turn to when you need a reminder you’re doing a great job or a little advice on an impossible situation? Maybe it comes from a friend or family member, or if you’re a professional carer, the support comes from the family and friends of the person who is seriously ill. Wherever it comes from, carers need all the support they can get.

Here’s five reasons to care for a caregiver 

I was visiting my father after my mum died, when she started to complain of deep pain in her back. I took her to the hospital and after many tests she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I knew at that point it was my responsibility to take the lead role. I would be okay. However, the real difficulty was when you think your siblings will also support, but then they don't. That’s not an easy thing to accept, on top of your mother dying. Nicole.

I was 16 when the caregiving began. My Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1984. Dad worked nights, so he took care of Mum during the day, taking her to chemo and doctors appointments. I took the nightshift, and looked after my two younger siblings. I thought relatives would help, that was my mistake. We were tired and exhausted as a family, it would’ve been nice for my aunts and uncles to have thought about taking my brother out with our cousin, or to have my sister around for a sleepover to take the pressure off. Peter

My mother and father live in Barbados, and the rest of us live in England. My dad had a stroke 8 or so months ago, and since then I’ve been back and forth to Barbados trying to look after my parents. Recently my mum’s health has declined rapidly, so we’ve had to get a carer in to help them both. My sister and I split our lives between our families here in England and Barbados. While we’re in England we need to coordinate our communication with the carer, and help her to do the best job that she can. Being able to keep connected with her and help coordinate the support helps ease our worries from afar. Having a platform to help us do this is great! Anthea

I was a caregiver for my late husband who had early-onset Alzheimers. My mother and father had already passed away, and my mother-in-law had dementia. I was exhausted looking after him, his health issues were getting worse and worse. I ended up taking time off work to attend to his needs. That was so difficult, the financial stress. I don’t have much family, but my friends really rallied and found ways to help me by bringing meals and taking turns to help with care or house cleaning when needed. It made such a difference. They actually created a little schedule of support, coordinating the days they could chip in. That helped massively. Emma

It’s been almost seven years since the diagnosis of my wife’s Alzeimers. She can no longer speak, walk or care for herself in any way. I care for her at home with assistance 30 hours a week.  With what I pay for her care each week, our resources are stretched. She never enjoyed one cent of her retirement savings nor had the opportunity to do simple things she had planned. My heart breaks every day as I care for her, and she will remain by my side so long as I have the strength. John